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Alibaba’s Taiwan Spat May Jeopardize B2B Clients

China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba is in the midst of a political scuffle with Taiwanese authorities. According to reports that emerged this week, the conglomerate is being pushed out of the market on grounds it did not comply with investment rules.

The dispute, reports say, could have the hardest impact on Alibaba’s B2B customers.

Taiwan’s Investment Commission demanded that Alibaba leave the market by the end of August because it is registered in Taiwan as a Singaporean firm, instead of mainland Chinese, a violation of business investment rules.

Reports say the company’s staff in Taiwan amounts to about 100 people. Its e-commerce site services about 140,00 customers in Taiwan, the majority of which are business-to-business companies operating on its SME B2B platform.

While the dispute remains unsolved, Alibaba has been clear about its dependence on Taiwan for business. Only days ago, on Monday (March 2), the company strengthened its ties with Taiwanese businesses despite the ongoing disagreement with a $316 million investment into a venture capital fund to launch Taiwan’s startups.

Reports note that the investment will likely fuel those businesses into becoming customers of Alibaba’s marketplace, a move that fertilizes the growth and sustainability of the company’s SME client base in Taiwan.

Experts also noted that the e-commerce firm’s cloud unit AliCloud will likely play a role in nabbing new business from Taiwanese startups, too.

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